Pidgin English in Ghanaian churches

  • GK Frimpong


This paper revisits the sociolinguistic discussions on the domain of use of Pidgin English in Ghana (cf. Huber 1999; 1995; Dako 2002; Ofulue 2011). It advances the claim that pidgin is currently undergoing a process of expanding its domain of use into some respected formal spaces (such as the church) in Ghana, particularly through gospel music. What this means is that the account in the literature that pidgin is absent in formal domains in Ghana can no longer be held to be accurate, for pidgin has now entered Christian religious worship. This has been possible partly through contacts within the West African sub-region. Unsurprisingly, the most popular pidgin songs in Ghanaian Christian communities, as reflected through responses to questionnaires administered, bear features of Nigerian Pidgin English; some of the songs have obviously been imported from Nigeria. Could this development be the watershed for the redemption of the image of Pidgin English in Ghana? For the purpose of this paper, Christians who fellowship in Accra only were surveyed; Accra serves as a haven for church activities due, perhaps, to its highly cosmopolitan background, and numerous churches are headquartered in this city.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502